MILF: Norway, EU boost peace process

THE Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said the participation of the Government of Norway the European Union (EU) as big boost to the ongoing peace process between the MILF and the Government of the Philippines (GPH).

Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF Peace Negotiating Panel, emphatically said this in a meeting here yesterday with the Norway and EU contingents in the Malaysia-International Monitoring Team (IMT), which monitors on the ground implementation of the security, socio-economic, civilian protection, humanitarian, rehabilitation and development components of the GPH-MILF Peace Process.

Present during the meeting were Iqbal, Atty Datu Michael Mastura, Senior Member of MILF Peace Panel, Mr. Oddvar Midtkandal and Mr. Tor Fredrik Moe, the Norwegian members of IMT, Susan Robertson and Cynthia Petrigh, the EU-sponsored members of IMT, and the Secretariat of the MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH).

Norway and EU joined the IMT this year, making six the member-states of IMT to include the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, and Japan. Information also said that the Indonesian government will send soon its contingents with the IMT following the invitation of the government and MILF to join the international peace monitors the peace process.

Iqbal said the meeting was supposed to take place much earlier this year as a way of formally welcoming the participation of EU and Norway to IMT. Nonetheless, Iqbal told the European members of IMT that a meeting will be arranged with them at Camp Darapanan, the MILF’s Administrative Headquarters in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindnaao.

The MILF Chief Negotiator conveyed the warm welcomed and full support of MILF for the EU and Norway IMT members, adding “their expertise on security, humanitarian laws and human rights can significantly help the IMT.”

The Norwegians, who were former top military officers, work under the Security Component of IMT while the EU members, who are experts on humanitarian and human rights works, are Head Coordinators for the humanitarian, rehabilitations and development component of IMT.

Atty Mastura expressed belief that the Bangsamoro Question and the conflict in Mindanao could not be solved without the active participation and involvement of the international community.

“It would be totally wrong to say that the government and the MILF can make the peace process succeed with the resolution of the conflict without the international community actively involved in the process,” Mastura stressed.

“Certainly the Bangsamoro Question is an international issue and not a domesticate problem,” he said adding “the MILF’s creativity, flexibility and scholarly approaches can emboldened the participation of international community.”

EU and Norway members of IMT commended the government and MILF for the breakthroughs achieved during the resumption of negotiations in Malaysia last February 9 and 10, 2011 in Kuala Lumpur under the auspices of the Malaysian Third Party Facilitator.

They emphasized that they will work hard with all the concerned parties to be able to significantly help in making the peace process really effective on the ground.

Civil society groups in Mindanao also hailed the direct participation of EU and Norway in the GPH – MILF Peace Process, citing further the tremendous institutional humanitarian and development assistance of EU and Norway in the conflict affected communities in Mindanao.

EU has been pouring in big support to the peace process in Mindanao through its official development assistance for years already.

EU top diplomats in Manila had been noted for their keen monitoring and positive push necessary for the success of the peace process so that just and sustainable peace prosperity will reign in the region.
MILF: Norway, EU boost peace process

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